I’d like to claim that the sparseness of the inside cover page (shown here on the left) was a deliberate attempt to a) give some appreciation to the lovely natural cardstock of the sketch book, and b) ease the view into the content, much as the title pages and colophons do in normal published books. The truth is a little more mundane.
In part, it was a challenge to devise an image that would “play nice” with the Oprah image on the right hand page. I didn’t want an overload right away. In the end, the simple “headline” was taken from a Rolling Stone cover.
It works nicely here for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it provides a bridge from the headline cover (previous post) into the first proper image. Secondly, it relates to the Oprah image and can flavor the viewer’s interpretation of it, but it can also be thought of as somewhat separate from its adjacent page. This relationship between pages continues throughout the book. The placement of the text “The Greatest” next to the text “Heroes” is deliberate: it can be read as a single phrase, or as two smaller fragments.
I also hoped to play off the pomposity of magazine cover headlines in general, and Rolling Stone’s in particular. America’s marquis music mag loves to anoint the top 50 greatest self-effacing singer-songwriters or the 100 best stage dives of all time. With the use of this headline, I hope to both question how heroes are made, while also declaring this Sketchbook “The Greatest” of all time.
As For Oprah. . .
She’s easy pickings. She embodies the public’s need to not merely admire successful people, but to bestow upon them heroic qualities far beyond the means of normal humans. This photo of her almost didn’t need any embellishment to make the point.
Comic book superheroes and references are woven throughout this book. Here, the imitation of “blast lines” that surround the queen of all media underscore the superhuman image (self-image) of the woman, while doubling as a halo. Don’t worry, folks; she will save us. She possesses the mutant power to turn ordinary products into must-haves and crackpot ideas into mantras.
And for the record: I can’t stand O. What are your thoughts?
Next Up: A Nearly Nude Double-Feature